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We win not by luck or brilliance

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Arenít you glad youíre working out, watching your diet and getting in shape? We are 16 days into the new year and the tough job is over, partners. Confronting, starting and persisting for 30 to 60 days comprise the rockiest stretch of any exercise venture, like pushing a wheelbarrow of mud up Empire Grade.

Training familiarity, investment and return level the ground before you. The way is clear. You need only to continue, submitting to no tempting distraction, contrived obligation, petty discomfort or other unpardonable excuse. You know how it goes: a day off leads to one more and then another. Donít play the game or in a single snore on the couch, youíll need to start all over again. Ugh. What a revolting predicament that would be.

I offer you todayís change of pace to spark your interest and startle the body: Perform 20-second planks, followed by 10 leg raises, followed by 10 deep knee bends. The exercises are executed with a focus on form and sound pace. Three cycles with a short pause between each series are sufficient, though four is very cool and more repetitions for the more enduring are dandy.

Ease into this ambitious warmup, applying your might as you build up momentum. The harder you work, the greater the return. Youíre stretching and contracting a lot of muscle and the heart and lungs are pumping. Life is good.

Next, with your feet placed firmly in a shoulder-width stance, crouch over a pair of light dumbbells as they lay on the floor before you. Apply a convincing grip, stand up and raise the dumbbells in one continuous motion to the shoulders, pause and press to an overhead position. Congratulations. Youíve just completed one rep of the dumbbell clean and press, a most significant and productive exercise.

Slowly and attentively reverse the movement and return the weights to their starting position. Repeat for a total of eight to 10 repetitions. Three sets with 60 to 90 seconds rest between sets will serve you well.

This gutsy original exercise is regaining its popularity (trendy lifters find it too tough) due to its systemic action. The entire body is involved in its execution, resulting in the development of a network of muscle, practical strength, cardio-respiratory efficiency and functional skill. A golden exercise worth practicing, perfecting and framing. Tough is good.

Not to change the subject, but have you been eating your protein daily? Muscles are made of protein, you know. I agree with those docs who declare that no adult should ingest less than one hundred grams of the precious ingredient no matter how big the person is. Unless you have a pre-existing kidney or liver ailment, extra gobs of the stuff is not going to hurt you. Au contraire.

As well as being the prime ingredient of muscle tissue, protein is a superior source of energy --unlikely to add fat anywhere. Excuse me. Espousing such propaganda get can a person in trouble -- strong and muscular but in trouble. As a convicted, life-long bodybuilder I feel compelled to toot the horn for protein. Sugar is a stinker.

Around the world, most people are eating too much and eating the wrong foods. And very few are truly exercising... hence, our roundness and sluggishness. Diet trends have us embracing carbohydrates, scorning fat and dabbling in protein. We need to be careful. Research groups under private grants telling half-truths to satisfy the interests of their wealthy sponsors are perpetuating the misinformation we receive about nutrition.

Hey, weíre getting fat on politics. At least weíll never starve.

Good nutrition, like good training, is simple -- learn the basics and practice them consistently. A little knowledge and a lot of discipline is the secret. Apply yourself diligently; look ahead, donít look back and donít look for shortcuts. There simply arenít any.

Health and fitness have climbed to the top of our popularity list and have become big business. Thereís a gym on every corner and a glut of diet and bodybuilding formulas to pack on muscle and burn off fat.

Competition is fierce, the promises are bizarre and weíre all confused, suspicious and eventually numb. We have on hand a zillion ways to diet, feed ourselves and live our lives for fitness.

Still, the task is easy, a daily practice without beating yourself, demanding quick and unrealistic results or applying numbing scrutiny. Discounting laziness, lack of ambition, irresponsibility and other ignoble disabilities, only one enemy stands in your way: doubt, a deception also known as negativity, misperception, suspicion and poor attitude.

We win not by luck or brilliance, but through trust, confidence and persistent, positive performance.

The end.

The Bomb


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